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Podcast: Leading Forward — Adjusting to the New Normal

Podcast with Linda Ashar, Faculty Member, School of Business and
Dr. Marie Gould Harper, Dean, School of Business

In this four-year anniversary episode, Dr. Linda Ashar interviews the original host, Dr. Marie Gould Harper, Dean of the School of Business at American Public University. Learn how much has changed in the business world during the last four years, including the explosive growth of social media and what that means for employers and employees; social and cultural shifts that highlight inequality and the need for business leaders to address diversity; and the heightened political divisiveness that often spills over into the workplace. Also, learn how the COVID-19 pandemic has forced executive leaders to practice crisis management on a daily basis and change business operations, including managing a remote workforce.

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Read the Transcript

Dr. Linda Ashar: Hello, everyone. This is Linda Ashar. Welcome to our podcast. Today, we are recognizing a four-year anniversary for this podcast. We are honored today to be speaking with Dr. Marie Gould Harper, who created Politics in the Workplace podcast in 2016.

Dr. Gould Harper is Dean of the School of Business for American Public University. She holds an undergraduate degree in psychology from Wellesley College and a master’s degree in instructional systems from Pennsylvania State University and a Ph.D. in business from Capella University.

Dr. Gould Harper is a progressive coach, facilitator, writer, strategist, and human resources, organizational development professional with more than 30 years of leadership, project management, and administrative experience. Dr. Gould Harper has worked in both corporate and academic environments, and she is a noted prolific writer, contributing articles in leadership, business, human resources management, and diversity, just to name a few.

Start a management degree at American Public University.

We have especially appreciated her study and creative leadership this year in the challenges of a pandemic. Dr. Gould Harper, Marie, welcome, and thank you for sharing your time with us today.

Dr. Marie Gould Harper: Thank you, Linda. I am more than happy to be here with you today. I’m excited about the fact that this podcast is still around and relevant after four years.

Just to give you some history, the idea came to me during the last Presidential election, and we’re upon the next election. I was concerned, being a former HR person, that a lot of businesses were going to struggle with politics that was never spoken about in the workplace. All of a sudden people feeling comfortable doing it on social media and bringing it into the workplace.

So, that was my idea and my desire for this podcast. I think I’m equally excited about the fact that you have taken over. I’m excited to see where you’re going to take the podcast. I’m just happy that you agreed to take the baton when I passed it to you.

Dr. Linda Ashar: Well, thank you, and it’s been a wonderful experience so far and I am very pleased to be continuing it. There is so much to talk about.

The concept of politics is, people tend to think about, “Well, that means elections and who’s running for office.” And that is certainly all a part of the notion of politics and all that does come into people’s workplace dialogue, but it’s about so much more.

It’s about leadership; it’s about how people are living their lives; it’s about family issues; it’s about business issues. All of those things encompass everything we do, and the workplace is a huge part of how we live our lives on a day-to-day basis. And all of those bring issues that we can talk about here, for the public to think about and for the things that the public cares about, and I think it’s an important podcast.

Dr. Marie Gould Harper: I totally agree. You have touched on a topic that was a concern after the election was over in 2016. I was like, “Where do we go from here?” Because everyone equated the podcast to the election in 2016, and once it was over, as you stated, I was able to find other topics that were a concern in the workplace.

For example, paid maternity/paternity leave, benefits for individuals, how it affected families, and just different, I think, topics. I don’t want to say controversial, but everybody may not see eye to eye. This podcast has been a platform for people to discuss their individual opinions and also discuss how they got to that point.

Dr. Linda Ashar: Well, when you launched this four years ago, you mentioned social media. And a lot has happened in four years, but let’s take a look back for just a minute. What were some other issues in 2016 at that time that formed your vision?

Dr. Marie Gould Harper: Well, one of the things that I experienced personally, I think I’m on all of the social media platforms. During that time, I started to reflect on the fact that I grew up in an era where it was common for a person to be an independent. It was okay to be moderate. It was also in fashion to listen to other people and accept their viewpoints, even if we didn’t agree with it.

I saw the tide starting to change. Where people had their own thoughts and beliefs and they shared them on social media. If people did not agree with them, they basically bullied them.

I also witnessed how people that I had as childhood friends, as well as people I have worked at in previous jobs, how when their personal views came out there and you could see the opinions of people that they were friends with, it made you look at people in a different perspective.

I think social media is similar to the online learning platform. For some reason, and there’s research out there, people I believe are more courteous and conscious of their behavior when they’re face to-face.

However, when they’re online, they feel as though that you can’t get to them, I think some hidden behaviors, toxic behaviors, start to come out because there’s no proximity. They think that you can’t get to them.

I think that’s one of the reasons why we saw all of the trolling and the disrespect to fellow human beings on the internet, especially with the different social media platforms. And again, my concern was that people were so conditioned in exhibiting that behavior, (this was pre-pandemic) that they would take those behaviors into the workforce, because it had become the norm.

Dr. Linda Ashar: Did you see employers start to react to that, or did it just start to seep into the workplace in an insidious type of way?

Dr. Marie Gould Harper: Well, I’m still attached to the human resource community. What I saw was a concern, whether they had to revise their policies or write new policies that governed the behavior. Many thought, “This is common sense; people just need to respect one another,” but they, too, started to see the reactions, even from some of their own employees on social media. They wanted to be proactive and address it before it did become a problem in the workplace.

Dr. Linda Ashar: So this is branched out, this behavior is branched out really, and not just whether “I disagree with who your preferred politician is,” but it can be a “I don’t like what you like to eat” or “I don’t agree with your choice of music.”

Dr. Marie Gould Harper: Yes. It’s interesting that you brought that topic up, topics other than politics. Because during that 2016 election, especially around the holidays, it was around this time that year, we saw families split because of their political views, which was sad. And it made some of the holiday celebrations a little bit tense.

And as you just mentioned, people began to classify individuals not on distinct topics, like what you said, “What do you like to eat?” They started classifying you by, “Are you a liberal or a conservative?” And if you fall into that group, you can’t possibly like.

So they defined you based on where they saw themselves. And if you weren’t in agreement or a part of their group, you were on the opposite side, with anything.

Dr. Linda Ashar: Do you think that has seeped into how employers behave? For example, recruiting, are there employers, do you think, that are looking for employees that are going to be on the conservative or liberal side of the thinking mentality?

Dr. Marie Gould Harper: Now, I want to go back to my HR days and then using that experience to pretty much tell you my perceptions of what I see.

Dr. Linda Ashar: Excellent.

Dr. Marie Gould Harper: First of all, if you think about some of the stories that we have seen about executives in 2020, just because of controversial issues that may have come up. You have seen where some of them have struggled with, “What do I say? How do I say it? And how do I not offend anyone?”

So I think at the top leadership level, you have a discomfort level, but there are some people who are attempting to communicate how they feel and the direction the company should go into.

Now, with this pandemic, that’s the one thing about business, I think there are leaders who understand the social issues that are occurring in the guise of politics, but at the same time, they’re trying to figure out, “How do we get our business back on track?” I’ve seen articles where — I forgot which company it was — but one of the executives came out with a memo, and, I don’t think it was his intent, but how it was perceived was that he was saying, “Let’s just focus on the business, and leave the social justice issues alone.”

Well, for some people, you can’t do that, because it affects them on a daily basis. So in some circles, that could have been seen as an insensitive comment, but I think he originally started out with the right frame of mind. It’s just how the message came over.

In terms of hiring, there’s always been a problem with hiring. People tend to want to hire individuals that they can see themselves in. From a business perspective, why I personally think that may not always be the way to go is because a company’s client, customers, partners, whatever you want to call them, it could be a diverse population.

So people who you are depending on funding or paying for your services may be different than you, and they may want to see people who are like them. So what are you going to do? I’m not advocating putting quotas because there are qualified people out there, but how do you seek them?

When I was a diversity officer, many times in the beginning, I was met with resistance, and that was because there was assumption that I was going to force them to do something. And my response was, “I’m not going to force you to do anything, but I am going to show you how to meet, how to court those individuals that you say that you can’t find, and expose you to individuals who are different than you are, not just in the demographics, but also in the way that they think, their backgrounds, the thoughts that they can bring to the table.”

And I found that to be extremely helpful when doing that type of work. You just have to get people to see people who have come up with a different background can have some of the same interests as you, even though you got to point B different ways.

Dr. Linda Ashar: Something you said has triggered another thought, especially with the social media angle and how that can play into business and like-minded versus different-minded thinking, and that’s this:

I have seen more than ever — at least to my observation more than ever — postings on social media, whether it’s Instagram or Facebook or something else, people saying, “I’m not going to buy from X, Y, Z company because I have now read that this company is not sensitive to women or doesn’t like to hire women or doesn’t like to promote women.”

That’s an example. I just saw one today on that. Not buying their products anymore. I don’t know if that company that was mentioned has that mindset or not, but it was certainly the perception of the poster. And if that kind of thing goes viral on that company — it may already have — that’s going to affect that company’s sales.

Dr. Marie Gould Harper: Exactly. And that’s why I know from a personal standpoint, I’ve talked to family members and friends about what they post on social media, and I’ve even advocated being more on the conservative side how, when you make a post, that post is out there forever. There are employers who search to find out what potential employees, as well as current employees, are posting out there. And is it reflective of the values, mission, and vision of the organization that they work?

Now that, in itself, is a controversial topic, too, because some people believe that what they do on their personal time should not have any bearings on their work life if they can keep it separate. But you just hit on something that is a good argument.

It’s like you do, whether you’re at work, even in your personal time, represent us, and especially if potential customers/clients can see the connection. And I think it’s important for all levels, but definitely at the executive levels, because those are the stories that we see a lot.

And I’ll be perfectly honest, I’m not into the posting, but that example that you gave, I have done that. Companies who have come out with advertisements or positions where an executive just made a comment. I think I work hard for my money, and I’m not about to give my money or spend in the building up of an organization that does not respect me as an individual.

So I have a problem with that, and I am one of those type of consumers that will do that. I’m not calling it a full-scale boycott. I’m just saying I’m not spending my money there. I think some executives get that.

I think in the last four years, we have had some teams doing promotionals where you may have had a team that subscribes to the opposite side of diversity, which is groupthink, where everyone was thinking the same way and no one was there to hold up the flag like, “We may not want to put that out there as representative of our company.”

And I think that’s how some companies got into trouble because there was no one different to vet a particular promotional before it went out. Therefore, the team didn’t realize how some of the things that they thought were okay were seen as insensitive by various groups in the community at large.

Dr. Linda Ashar: And that hits on a very key point, and I think it’s going to be even more of a key point with the influences that all business and people personally have as a result of this pandemic. It has challenged the way we all have to think about things in ways we never had to think before.

Dr. Marie Gould Harper: Exactly.

Dr. Linda Ashar: Whether it’s business or how you do your shopping. You mentioned a few minutes ago about the need to have people in an organization who don’t think exactly like you do. If you get so insulated in your thinking, you don’t get that different perspective to understand that there may be customers that think a different way or employees that think a different way, and you could end up with a big surprise at the worst possible time.

Dr. Marie Gould Harper: Exactly. I remember when I was in HR and trying to coach some of the executives, it was common to see people when we would have a new batch of hires. And some of the executives took to certain people because they reminded them of themselves when they were starting their careers.

And I was like, “That’s good and fine, but it would also be helpful if you could find someone that wasn’t like you, that did not have a background like you, to see what you can learn from that particular individual.” I personally believe that you can learn something from everyone, and the person doesn’t have to be like you.

I know that’s why I like to meet people. I love to meet people who are different than I am so that they can share their experiences, because I just find that fascinating. And I do recognize that everyone brings something to the table, you just have to have the time and the sensitivity to find out what it is so that you can work together. That’s how you do a team building.

Dr. Linda Ashar: And by the same token, those people can learn something themselves from you.

Dr. Marie Gould Harper: Exactly. It’s a two-way communication.

Dr. Linda Ashar: Let me shift gears just a little bit, although it’s a related topic. Talk to me about leadership, especially now. And we looked at the 2016 perspective, and I think we’ve seen that the things that you identified in 2016, especially with the social media. Correct me if I’m wrong, but haven’t things worsened in terms of the divisiveness and maybe even the bullying aspect of how people are viewing each other in the last four years?

Dr. Marie Gould Harper: Yes, it has. And as I mentioned before, for some people, what may have been a shock factor in 2016, in 2020, it’s seen as the norm. And people can become very hostile to individuals who may think different than they do.

Now, what I think that’s interesting about 2020, and please stop me because you’re about to get me on my soapbox and also where I’d like to see the School of Business go. And that is we have experienced something that we have never gone through before, and that’s the pandemic.

Dr. Linda Ashar: Exactly. That’s where I was going. Stay on your soapbox.

Dr. Marie Gould Harper: Now, this is where I become very opinionated, and then some people may disagree with me. When everything first started to occur, everyone, I think, went into shock and wasn’t sure about what to do.

But the reality of the situation, what kept a lot of people holding on with a sense of hope was subscribing to the thought, “Let’s just hold on. We’ll get back to normal.”

I always challenge that comment because I was like, “We’re not going back to normal. You can’t go back to normal.” It’s almost as if we were on a course and something was altered so we have to adjust, which is the definition of change.

And I thought, and I still think, even when there were companies who were coming up with plans on how to get their employees back to work, some of them started, then they had to send them back home because they didn’t think it through.

Dr. Marie Gould Harper: I think there are a lot of leaders, too, are like deer in the headlights. They’ve never experienced anything like that. They have a resume that shows how wonderful they have been, but they have never had a situation like this.

So, I think in certain sectors, we have leaders who are not used to moving forward when we’re in a crisis. That’s a different skillset, and a lot of people have never taught that.

They have just taught, “Yes, you have been identified as a leader. We will groom you. We will build on what you already have. You will progress,” but they never threw those chaos situations in there. Or if they did, they were, what I call, the baby ones, nothing that’s at the magnitude of this pandemic.

Therefore, we have leaders who are unsure of themselves now, don’t know which direction to go in. We have some leaders who are depending on their past successes, but becoming frustrated because nothing seems to be working.

And then you have your leaders who are like, “Let’s start where we are and see where we can go next,” and those are the ones who I think are being very focused. You’re not hearing much from them because they’re thinking about, “What is going to work?”

But I also think that particular group has accepted, “I need to move forward. I can’t try to grab from the past and take something from the playbook and just tweak it a little bit and think that it’s going to work. I need to focus on our given situation, what seems to be a feasible direction in terms of our operations, as well as our employees.”

Case in point, working from home. In social media, I spent years battling the people who said working at home will not work. Well, I’ve brought up, it has worked for a lot of people, but not because people have finally accepted it, but they had no choice. If they wanted their business to survive, they had to at least entertain the thought of letting employees work from home or shut their doors.

Dr. Linda Ashar: So, if you were to describe the leader, that client-leader that you mentioned, who’s looking forward, how would you describe that person?

Dr. Marie Gould Harper: I think individuals that fall into that are optimistic, yet realistic. I think that group also, they’re not afraid of failure.

They want to try different things just to see if it works. And if it doesn’t work, they’re going to dust themselves off and get back up and try again.

Those are also people who believe that teamwork can make a difference. And I also think that group acknowledges that diversity of thought, which is another one of my favorite topics, is important because you have to hear different perspectives to see what are different options you may have.

And I think they see the value of putting people in teams so that they can work together to come up with different solutions, and they’re not relying on themselves to have all of the answers. So, they’re very realistic about their skillset, and they see the value of listening to other people at all levels to come up with the solution.

Dr. Linda Ashar: I think that that’s an excellent description. “Diversity of thought,” what does that mean?

Dr. Marie Gould Harper: For me, what it means is that a lot of times when you think of diversity, just how it was introduced, there’s a certain body of individuals who believe, “Oh, that’s nothing different than affirmative action,” so they focus on the demographics.

But if you look at diversity of thought, it’s about the cognitive ability. How people think? Why do they think that way? How did they get there?

And that’s when, if you talk to a person — and I know I do it — I’m familiar with personality profiles as well as different inventories to look at why people do the things that they do. And a lot of times, I go first to the background. How were you raised? What did you see as normal? How is that different than how I think?

Especially if I’m in the workplace, I’m like, “What has your work experience been like?” Because everybody has different work experience.

You might have people on the team where half of the team have worked for the company, maybe, the bulk of their adult career life. Then you may have other members on the team that have had a variety of positions, so they have been exposed to different things.

When you bring those two groups together, it’s exciting to see the brainstorming, especially if all members are open to at least hearing other people’s opinions and thoughts. And then you would be surprised about the creativity of ideas that can come out as a result of people respecting one another’s thoughts and sharing in a common cause of trying to find solutions to a problem.

Dr. Linda Ashar: So when you’re looking at that, you might even look at what people do who have certain types of hobbies or other things that they’ve done in addition to their work experience, then?

Dr. Marie Gould Harper: Yes. One thing that I have done, I did it this weekend. I was away, and it was my first time staying at a hotel since this pandemic, and the general manager happened to be there. And I didn’t know she was the general manager, but I started asking questions about how was business, because the night that I stayed, it was a full house, and I was like, “How did you get to this point where people started coming back?”

And it was having the conversation with an individual who’s in the field that I’ve never worked in and never thought about the leadership or the operations and having the conversation relating what she said to experiences that I have had, and then engaging her in conversation about how she saw the future.

She was very optimistic, but I think part of it was to have someone who was not a part of her world appreciate what she did, showed interest, and could follow along with what she was trying to accomplish. Because even though I’ve never done what she did, I could relate to the steps of leadership she was applying and I was able to engage her in a conversation.

And I think that’s all anyone wants: to share their ideas, to bounce their ideas off of people who are not a part of their inner circle or work group. And I think that’s how we’re going to do it.

One of the complaints about working at home is, “How do you have the collaboration?” Well, collaboration doesn’t always have to happen in your immediate work group or the company you work for. It could be people in your community or, as you travel, individuals that you meet along the way. They could be sounding boards. We shouldn’t just think in terms of a box of, “It has to be this type of people.”

Dr. Linda Ashar: You just mentioned that you are doing some traveling for the first time. Did you get a feel for how things are going with the pandemic recently? You mentioned the hotel. How did you find businesses in general, in your observation?

Dr. Marie Gould Harper: It was interesting because I crossed a couple of states, and I have to say it depends on where you are. Because I’ve been to some places where I’m like, “Wow, you would never think the pandemic hit here. People are respecting social distance, they’re wearing their masks, but they’re still coming out to locations. They’re respecting space.” And when I say that, I meant in terms of stores, restaurants.

One of the things that I’ve seen with restaurants, some may feel differently, but I see the creation of three different types of ways that they can do business. They can focus on trying to bring more people in actual dine-in, or they have partnered with places such as Uber Eats and DoorDash, where it’s become, people want the food delivered to their homes. I’ve seen the curbside.

And then I’ve seen people who just want to walk into restaurants to order the food, but not necessarily stay there and dine. I’ve seen the menus change in terms of they’re recognizing that people may not want to cook, so they’re ordering four meals for the family. So they have changed their menus into what they call “bundle.”

And it’s almost using your local restaurant like someone who has decided to use a service such as Home Chef or HelloFresh. The only difference is it’s just someone else that’s cooking the food for you, and it’s restaurant food. So people are still getting the different social interactions without compromising themselves and thinking about, “Well, is it safe to do that?”

So it depends on where you are, and people are doing different things. And like I said, this was my first time staying at a hotel. The hotel was extremely clean. They were exercising social distance as well as wearing masks, in terms of the other people who are staying at the hotel and the staff, and I appreciated that. So it was a good experience for me.

Dr. Linda Ashar: I appreciate you sharing that, because a lot of people are still not doing a lot of traveling and don’t have a sense of real-life viewpoints of what’s going on. And if you’ve crossed a couple of states, that’s a good snapshot, I think, of how things are doing. The restaurant idea, I think, shows some innovative thinking that’s not only good for their business, but it’s also helping the community.

Dr. Marie Gould Harper: Exactly.

Dr. Linda Ashar: That’s a two-way win-win type of approach that’s really good. I’d like to ask you something else, Marie.

We’ve been talking about dealing with how we respond to the divisiveness of the social media situation and how people are generally reacting to each other, at least in that kind of forum, and how that might be coming into the workplace for employers to deal with.

And then taking that to the next step, which is how leadership, as you very insightfully put it, needs to be looking forward and reorganizing its vision on how to respond to things like the pandemic. But just as we’re not going to go back to the way things were pre-COVID-19, there are other things I’m sure on the horizon that are not going to be easy to deal with either. And how do we, as educators, work with students and the community to do better preparation for thinking and planning for these things?

Dr. Marie Gould Harper: Well, that’s exactly the direction that we want to take our different programs. We wanted to lay the foundation. We’ve been doing this all year, especially since the pandemic occurred. We see this as the next level of crisis management.

Many people were not prepared. They may have prepared for if an incident occurred, but I think there were few, if not none, that were prepared for something that came on so quickly.

And I think, especially as the School of Business, we are obligated to start retooling individuals with how to respond, in terms of the operations of an organization, as well as, how do you manage the workforce. So, that’s two types of levels. And how are we going to do that?

The business programs are going to focus on crisis management, digital workplace, just everything that relates to the operations, the organizational design of a company. How do you get the work done? And our management program is going to focus on “How do we get people to work together,” especially as teams so that we can have that diversity of thought, that people can share their ideas, especially people who think differently? What are our options as a result of these collaborations? What should we go forth with in the short-term and in the long-term?

I just heard a great seminar on humanocracy. I think that’s the pronunciation of it, but it’s basically pretty much being open to everyone participating in the decision-making process. That’s how I took it.

Because a lot of times, we are dependent on a hierarchal framework in organizations, but when you’re going through a crisis, you really don’t have time for that. You need to figure out how are you going to continue to survive? And that takes the efforts of everyone involved at all levels.

So you don’t get into, “Well, I’m not the vice president, so I can’t give ideas.” If you really think about the definition of leadership, that’s how you can get people to follow them or show some type of influence and motivation skills, good coaches. That’s not always the people that we appoint into leadership positions. They may be good managers, but they may not be good leaders.

So I think it’s equally important that organizations identify who really are the leaders in your organization? Who could get the employees motivated without a title? And then just putting people in groups so that they can have the opportunity to interact with individuals who may not have the same thought process.

And I think that the more that we do this, and even as educators, promote that even in the classroom. Like for a particular assignment, I remember I used to do it with human resources, might come up with one policy and let the class talk about it. Well, they come from different backgrounds, they come from different geographic regions, and it was interesting to see how you can introduce the concept and people shared how they would do it in their particular companies.

And I think the biggest “Aha” moment was the reality that not everyone did it the same way, but that was okay, because there was no one size fits all. I always thought that was the best learning experience for the whole class, was for them to accept that different companies, did things different ways and it could be the same concept or the same policy.

And a lot that went into it, I talk about individuals and their backgrounds, but in organizations it’s like, “What is the culture there? What is the culture in the region that you live in? What is acceptable and what’s not?” And one of the examples that I like to use, everything you do in the Midwest, even on how you hire a person, is not necessarily how you would do it in the Northeast or the Southern region.

So, a lot of times, we have to pay attention to external factors in our environment as we go out to make things happen. And I think that’s a disadvantage of many companies and why I’m really concerned when people say best practices. It’s almost like TQM. Sometimes we like to take concepts and come up with best practices, and then people try to implement it how it was introduced in their companies, not paying attention to the culture.

Dr. Linda Ashar: Then that’s an excellent point that can apply to any best practice application. You have to understand what the point of it is and then apply it to the circumstances, not just have it be an academic exercise.

Dr. Marie Gould Harper: Exactly.

Dr. Linda Ashar: And by the same token, you mentioned the geographic United States’ differences. For many companies, that’s going to hold true even more dramatically in the global aspect of how they do business, because they have international locations and connections. And even if they’re not located outside the United States, they very likely have cultural differences that they have to deal with in terms of customers and partnerships internationally.

Dr. Marie Gould Harper: Yes. That’s why one of my favorite expressions is, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”

Dr. Linda Ashar: Some of the oldest aphorisms are so true that they last. That’s why we still know who Confucius is.

All of the things that we’ve discussed today bear on why this podcast started and why it’s continuing. There are so many issues, and we’ve only touched a few high points, that we can be discussing in this channel. And I certainly appreciate the opportunity that I have had to do this, for which I thank you. But most of all, thank you today for what you’ve brought to this discussion. Before we leave, is there anything else you would add today?

Dr. Marie Gould Harper: I just want to thank you for inviting me. I thought it was time for the meeting, and I’m glad that it’s the fourth-year anniversary.

But as I mentioned, I’m excited about the opportunities that we have, and I’m excited what I believe that the School of Business is going to offer, in terms of how we can assist the general population for making it through this pandemic.

Dr. Linda Ashar: Well, your leadership has been wonderful, so we all appreciate it.

Dr. Marie Gould Harper: Thank you.

Dr. Linda Ashar: And there’s some very exciting things going on, I can attest to that. So, thank you again. It’s been such a pleasure.

Dr. Marie Gould Harper: Thank you so much, Linda.

Dr. Linda Ashar: We have been speaking with Dr. Marie Gould Harper. This is Linda Ashar, thanking you for listening to our podcast today.

About the Speakers

Dr. Linda Ashar is a full-time Associate Professor in the School of Business, American Public University, teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in business, law, and ethics. She obtained her Juris Doctor from the University of Akron School of Law. Her law practice spans more than 30 years and includes employment law and litigation on behalf of employers and employees.

Dr. Marie Gould Harper is the Dean of the School of Business at American Public University. She holds an undergraduate degree in psychology from Wellesley College, a master’s degree in instructional systems from Pennsylvania State University and a doctorate in business from Capella University. She is a progressive coach, facilitator, writer, strategist and human resources/organizational development professional with more than 30 years of leadership, project management, and administrative experience. Dr. Gould Harper has worked in both corporate and academic environments.

Dr. Gould Harper is an innovative thinker and strong leader, manifesting people skills, a methodical approach to problems, organizational vision and ability to inspire followers. She is committed to continuous improvement in organizational effectiveness and human capital development, customer service and the development of future leaders.

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